Federalism is a system of government in which powers are divided and shared between different levels, e.g. national, state and local.
While other countries may embody the majority of their governmental powers in the hands of one central government, we in the United States have chosen to share that power between a central power, i.e. the federal government and 50 different regional groups, the states.
There are advantages to a federalist system:
- Public policy can be both tailored for local needs, as well providing guidance for issues that relate to the country as a whole.
There are disadvantages to a federalist system:
- There can be inequalities between states;
- There can be policy gaps between the federal and state governments.
- There can be endless conflict between the federal and state systems as to who shall dominate a specific area of policy.
In this contract with the Federal Government, states give up specific rights…
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However, the Founding Fathers also found it important to guarantee certain rights to the states, exclusive of the Federal government, in Article IV of the U.S. Constitution. Rights that the states are guaranteed . . .Right-click below and choose "Open Link in New Window."
The issue of Federalism is not however, a resolved issue. To this day, we continue to define and redefine the role of the Federal and state governments.
President Clinton issued an executive order in August 1999 attempting to reduce the problem of unfunded mandates. Executive Order 13132 of August 4, 1999Federal Register: August 10, 1999 (Volume 64, Number 153), Presidential Documents, page 43255-43259. To view this Executive Order, right-click on President Clinton’s picture and choose "Open Link in New Window."
Florida and Federalism:
"These are not my figures I'm quoting. They're the figures of someone who knows what they are talking about."Quote from actual Florida House debate, “House Journal.”
Florida is just one of 50 forms of state governments in the United States. As a product of federalism, every state, while still part of the same nation, may emphasize different goals, be comprised of different populations, and thereby, have different problems from one another.
Within the 50 states, Florida ranks 4th highest in population, with more than 18 million people. Only California, Texas and New York have larger populations.
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Florida has more senior citizens (age 65 or older) than any other state.
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Florida ranks in the top half (21st) in per capita income.
At the same time, Florida ranks 22nd in percentage of its population below the poverty line.
Comparing Florida to Other States
Florida is one of the few states in the country that has no state income tax and one of the lowest tax rates. Only nine states take in less tax revenue than Florida. Right-click on the map and choose "Open Link in New Window" to check out the “e-Florida” website.
Primary and Secondary Education
Florida has one of lowest percentages of its population in primary and secondary school, 17%. Only Massachusetts has a lower percentage. U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Educational Statistics, Digest of Educational Statistics, 1996, NCES -96-1333 (1996) .
While Florida's spending on elementary and secondary schools is relatively average, ranking 25th amongst other state (National Education Association, Estimates of School Statistics, 1995-96) Florida graduates fewer high school students than any other state except Louisiana and South Carolina. U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Educational Statistics, Digest of Educational Statistics, 1996, NCES -96-1333 (1996).
With regard to colleges and universities, Florida college-bound students pay some of the lowest tuition in the country. Dye, pg. 188
Lower tuition costs may impact the state's overall spending to fund higher education in Florida.
Only Missouri and Massachusetts spend less per capita for higher education. U.S. Bureau of the Census, Government Finances, 1992-1993 (1996)
For more recent educational statistics, right-click on the following link and choose "Open Link in New Window" to go to the US Department of Education website: http://www.ed.gov/, or
Right-click on the following link and choose "Open Link in New Window" to go to the National Education Association website: http://www.nea.org/index.html
Issues for Florida Today
The United States Senate has two senators from each State. Right-click on the US Capitol Dome and choose "Open Link in New Window" to view the list of US Senators in state order…
The United States House of Representatives is made up of a variable number of representatives from each state proportional to the population of the individual state. Florida currently has 25 members in the U.S. House, but as a result of the 2010 Census Florida will gain two members during the 2012 elections, bringing the total number to 27. Right-click here U.S. House of Representatives and choose "Open Link in New Window" to view the list of Florida’s current US Representatives. (Choose to view list by state.) Reapportionment
The total membership number for the U.S. House of Representatives remains constant at 435.
As Florida continues to grow as a state, our delegation in the U.S. House of Representative continues to increase as determined by the centennial census count.
The responsibility of redrawing district lines falls to the Florida Legislature. Changes affect both federal and state levels, the US House of Representatives and the Florida Legislature. Drawing the district lines to under-represent a particular race or economic group constitutes gerrymandering, and has been a prevalent issue for Florida as well as many other states. Redistricting rules are determined by the 1962 case of Baker v. Carr. Right-click on the following link and choose "Open Link in New Window" to read about this case: http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=US&vol=369&invol=186
2012 Florida Supreme Court Case Senate Joint Resolution of Legislative Apportionment 2-B.